Wednesday, October 04, 2006


I trust everyone enjoyed the presentations at the Public Hearing on the Verizon Cable Franchise Application. It's too late to submit comments for the record; However, there will be another opportunity - this time for the County Council which must approve the application.

But I'm skipping over something important. The Executive is supposed to digest the public testimony and based on it, make a recommendation to the council. Anyone want to guess what that recommendation will be?

Presuming the obvious, the council has already set a date for its hearing: October 31, 2006. Costumes anyone? (The politicos would pay a lot more attention to your testimony if you showed up with a spool of cable over your shoulder and a Freddy Kreuger mask on your face.) The time of the hearing is 1:30pm which makes it rather inconvenient for most citizens. Hmm. Is it better to hold these hearings during the day (when citizens won't attend them) or during the evening (when politicians won't attend them)?

But the public will be listening. I've heard from a large number of people who have watched the video archive of the hearing.

Speaking of which, can we improve the quality of the video? The audio is fine but the picture is so poor that the faces lack detail and the smaller subtitles are completely unreadable. Given that the viewership is entirely local, the county should be able to pump out higher-bandwidth video without incurring excessive charges or latency. It doesn't make sense that we can get high-quality video free from Google on the other side of the US but we can't get decent video from down the street in Rockville when the county network is hooked directly to Comcast and RCN fiber (and presumably soon Verizon as well). As I mentioned in my presentation, the franchise should ensure that the government has plenty of bandwidth for video-on-demand (VOD). And once the franchise does, then we need to actually use the bandwidth more effectively too. VOD is the future and, for some already, the present. Did anyone watch Channel 6 live? Or was it all via the archive?

I used to be able to watch the Channel 6 archives in a choice of video formats as well as on both Windows and Mac. It appears we have taken a giant step backward. Now the archives are only available in Windows Media (which truly stinks for trying to make transcripts due to the lack of precise control and significant lag). And the archives are only accessible on Windows and only using Internet Explorer.

Bottom line: Not only is the county making it more difficult for people to testify, but the county is making it more difficult to hear others testify as well. Something is seriously wrong here.


Anonymous said...

It shouldn't be too difficult to provide a format that we all could use. I had a problem on my Mac. When I finally did view it through a PC at work, the quality wasn't all that impressive. At least I was able to hear it.

Anonymous said...

For more cable fun, go to: am

And advance to 4 hours and 51 minutes into the video